Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tough Life- Steak Edition. Part 1

Bills older brother Tom, and his girlfriend Jen, came to visit last week. It was nice to see some familiar faces and we took a great little side trip over to Uruguay for Thanksgiving. I still maintain that they came to Buenos Aires, not to see us, but to have an intimate experience with the world famous asada. We ate like crazy. Here's the run down of the restaurants/bars we went to:

Sugar Bar- Costa Rica 4619
An expat bar in Palermo. We immediately recognized it by the American flag on the giant tv screen. They serve wings, burgers, etc and show American football games on Sunday. There are expats of all nationalities that hang there, but most seemed American. A girl sitting at the table next to us was listening to our convo and jumped in when she heard a mention of Snookie. She had been in BA for a couple of months and hadn't heard a peep about the Jersey Shore and was overly delighted to discuss the latest and greatest with us. She also introduced us to her prized "souvenir" of Argentina (her words not mine)- a very handsome gentleman who gave us some tips on where to go and what to see. The drinks were super cheap, we had a couple of rounds and in true BA fashion, headed off to dinner around 10:30.

Don Julio- Gurruchaga 2107
An awesome parilla in Palermo. Things did not get off to a good start when we walked in. There was a wait and we asked if we could have some drinks in the meantime. When the waiter came to deliver our sparkling wine he promptly spilled it all over Tom. We ended up getting a great table on the second floor overlooking the grill so I figured they felt bad about the spill and made up for it with good seats. Every square inch of shelf space is filled with empty wine bottles with messages people scribbled on them in their half drunken stupors. The food was solid, service was good, the wine was great and I drew portraits of each of us on the second bottle for the restaurant to keep. We had sweetbreads and grilled provolone for apps, we all had steak in different cuts, and dulce de leche crepes for dessert along with some other delicious things I can't remember. We were pleasantly surprised at the bill also. I think it was under $200 for all of us, which is fantastic. We left the restaurant at 2am and there were still families with small children eating dinner. Kids definitely have a different schedule down here, none of them are going to bed at 8pm like at home.

We took a pic of the BK bottle :)

Wherever Bar-Santa Maria de Oro 2476
Tom and Jen went to Bahia Blanca for a couple days to visit Jen's pen pal from childhood that she still keeps in contact with. They wrote each other for 25 years and just met for the first time here in Argentina, crazy right!? We decided to continue the "going out after dark" streak alive and went to our language school for a meet up. We actually took a nap so we missed the language exchange part but we joined everyone after class and went to Wherever Bar for drinks. It's a very laid back, cozy, yet spacious bar that has a small menu of food and a large selection of drinks. We chose off the happy hour menu and I think our beers were like 12 pesos each. Im beginning to think it's cheaper to go out in this city than buy groceries and stay home.
After that we went to Plaza Serrano and picked one of the many many many bar/restaurant options for a hamburguesa completa, fries and a drink for 35 pesos each. One thing I'm absolutely taking back to the states with me is the fried egg on a hamburger. It's awesome.

Random Street Fair- Centro
Bill and I stumbled upon an Italian heritage festival somewhere int he center of the city on Saturday afternoon and got steak and sausage sandwiches.

Desnivel's- Defensa 855
Upon their return from Bahia Blanca on Sunday, we went to the San Telmo market for a little stroll. Bill and I had checked this market out before and thought they had some good souvenir stuff. I think Jen and Tom bought some small things, and we came across a really lively, loud and good street band. It was an all out dance party in the street with a few hundred people working up a sweat. We made our way down to Plaza Dorrego and had a drink while we watched some tango dancing, then went back down Defensa to Desnivel's. We got there at the height of dinner and things looked pretty busy. After some confusion caused by language barriers we were finally seated. Then there was comical confusion when ordering, specifically when I tried to ask what the pork was stuffed with, making a lewd hand gesture to try and drive home the point. All in all the food was good, what we got of it anyway. They were out of the stuffed pork and the ribs. Our blood sausage came out cold but the waiter immediately remedied the situation. I actually really liked this place. The atmosphere was super laid back which is how it should be when your gobbling up steak and downing cheap wine. The electricity went out for a hot minute during a torrential downpour and the restaurant erupted in cheers, prompting us to order another bottle because we didn't have an umbrella, and why not? They were cheap as shit, delicious, and it was early by BA standards, only a little after midnight. 2 weeks of Spanish class did come in handy at the end of our meal when i asked the waiter to please call us a cab, which he did with pleasure. Probably laughing at my Spanish the whole time.

Mmmmmmm blood sausage....

Cooking with Teresita-
We took a cooking class outside of the city in Adrouge. We took the Subte to the train and around an hour and 15 minutes later we were in a delightful suburb of BA. Teresita was great, her house was gorgeous, and we learned how to make a proper empanada which apparently we've been doing all wrong. While the filling was cooling in the fridge she cracked open some bottles of wine and we had a seat in her lovely garden sipping away and meeting the other people in the class. We stuffed our empanadas and baked half and fried the other half. When all was said and done there were mountains of corn and carne empanadas on the table with even more wine to help wash it down. I think I ate 5 before throwing in the towel. Bill was more ambitious, scarfing down 8 empanadas before declaring he was going to barf. We wandered around the town for a bit before getting back on the train home. I took a nap to help digest all the greasy fried carne goodness in my belly.

Plenty of wine was readily available

Stuffing our empanada shells

Finished product, ready to eat!

Bella Italia- Republica Arabe de Siria 3285
Jen had made dinner reservations at a parilla for that night but after we all awakened from our naps we started thinking that maybe we needed a break from the endless piles of asada. So we went to Bella Italia for pasta. There is a Bella Italia cafe caddy corner to the restaurant. It looked very busy in there but we went to the actual restaurant across the street. It was just what I needed after so much steak. The atmosphere was a little too romantic for a group but nice nonetheless, who doesn't like dim, soft lighting? The service was great, the pasta was great. We got raviolis and Tagliatelle to share which were delish. The risotto we shared was really rich and heavy, then the mixed seafood grill came out and by that time I was in pain. The empanadas, the pasta and the risotto were all making me actually look 5 months pregnant. But I ate some mixed grill and then......dun dun dahhhhhhhhh!!! Dulce de leche volcano appeared. It was a cake with the middle cut out and dulce de leche poured in.

The love of my life- Dulce de leche volcano

It was oozzing over the top. Ugh. I've never hated myself so much. I couldn't even walk home, I waddled. I haven't seriously exercised in almost 6 months. While on this trip I've lost a couple pounds here and there and gained a couple pounds as well, nothing too noticeable either way. What I have noticed is the complete loss of muscle mass that been replaced by jiggly stuff and I'm not happy about it. I'm also not going to get up and go jogging so the jiggly will have to stay until I get back to the gym in BK. I lamented to Bill that I seriously didn't want to eat like I did that day ever again. But of course we did. Those restaurants will have to wait until part 2.

Too be continued!!!



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